Michelle Ann Mendez


Assistant Professor 



T: 919-843-6886 


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
PhD, Epidemiology

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
MSPH, Epidemiology

Princeton University
AB, Public and International Affairs

Research activities

Dr. Mendez is a nutritional epidemiologist whose research focuses primarily on dietary exposures and health outcomes such as obesity and related disorders, neurodevelopment, and cancer. She has a particular interest in methodological strategies for improving the measurement and analysis of dietary factors, including approaches to reduce error and bias. Along these lines, she also conducts research on food-borne contaminants as well as food groups and diet patterns, in an effort to better understand synergies within the food chain, including pathways through which beneficial dietary components may help to modify health risks of contaminant exposures. A current project extends these interests to explore whether prenatal exposure to chemicals found in the food chain may increase the risk of obesogenic growth in early life. In addition to etiology, her research also explores inequalities in dietary and contaminant exposures that may contribute to health disparities. The goal of her work is to gain greater insights on the role of diet in health by increasing the validity of dietary measures, as well as assessing synergies with non-dietary factors to understand their joint contribution to health outcomes and health disparities.